Friday, October 3, 2014
Here for the bear
One of the pleasures of having this blog is the comments and messages and information I receive from readers. I’ve benefitted, recently, from interesting information and conversations about (among other things) the similarities between a rectory and a town house in Leicestershire, 20th-century school architecture and decoration, and the filmic activities of Michael Winner in Herefordshire – as usual, the comments confirm my conviction that writing about buildings involves much more than architecture. Now, having read my previous post about the Unicorn at Deddington, reader John Hartley has sent me some images of further three-dimensional inn signs: both the Dolphin Hotel at Chichester (which I blogged about long ago) and this, the Black Bear at Wareham, which is new to me.
So here’s a lovely 18th-century inn frontage, bow-windowed and parapeted, with a fine statue of the eponymous bear sitting on top of the porch. The pose, with one paw raised, is charming. However, I take it also to be a reminder that, here in Britain as elsewhere, bears were once trained to dance and perform, as well as being subjected to the practice of bear baiting. In spite of all this, Wareham’s black bear manages to maintain a certain dignity. When, one of these days, I make my way to Wareham, I look forward to making his acquaintance.
Photograph of the Black Bear Hotel, courtesy of John Hartley